Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Logic of Violence in Interstate War

So if you're not an active student of ORDER! CONFLICT! VIOLENCE! (written like that, it seems like some perverse twist on LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION!), you may have skipped over the stellar article on the political side-effects of violence in Lebanon at Salon. Its an excellent illustration of the point that Kalyvas makes in his recent book, The Logic of Violence in Civil War that indiscriminate violence against noncombatants can be extremely politically costly. As the author argues:

"Politically, the bombing has backfired, as the people most likely to support an international campaign to pressure Hezbollah into disarming -- Lebanon's Christian, Sunni and Druze populations -- find themselves under fire from their southern neighbor, and, they say, abandoned by the Western powers they have long tried to emulate. Political analysts in Beirut declare that Hezbollah is positioned to capitalize on the mood shift and entrench itself in Lebanese society."

If this continues to happen-and I think it will without a drastic shift in policy by the Israeli Military-it is possible that Israel may end up propping up and in fact strengthening the organization it is trying to destroy. Whether that is a good or bad thing, I'm not going to try to touch right now. However, I'm getting copies of TLOVICW in the mail to Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz stat.